7/05 The Truth About .50 Caliber Rifles

The Truth About .50 Caliber Rifles
Larry Pratt

The Violence Policy Center has issued a “sky-is-falling” report designed to stampede the Congress into banning the .50 caliber rifle.

In a breathless tone, the VPC tells us that there is an imminent terrorist threat because of the availability of this rifle — although this “imminence” has been around for six years!

They rely on CNN and 60 Minutes to lend credence to their alarming report about how the world will end if the .50 caliber is not banned — right now!

CNN is a great news source for anti-gunners, but not for getting the truth. In May, 2003, CNN broadcast a segment which turned out to be a premeditated fabrication. They showed the sheriff of Broward County, Florida, firing a machine gun and saying that it was one of the so-called “assault weapons” that would be back on the streets if the 1994 ban expired.

Well, the semi-auto ban expired, but the machinegun the sheriff was firing is still banned for private owners — if the gun was made after May of 1986. CNN later was forced to retract their lie because too many people knew what they had done. Score one for the bloggers.

In February of this year, CNN’s Paul Zahn Show argued that you can buy a .50 caliber from a private seller. Well, yes, as can be done with any gun in all but a few jurisdictions. But VPC has been against private sales of ALL firearms, even the lowest-power hand guns. The real reason is that VPC wants all gun sales registered, which is what happens when guns are sold through dealers. Private sales involve no paper work and the government gets no record of the transaction. The VPC is simply using the .50 caliber as a foil to advance their gun control agenda.

The freedom to buy a gun anonymously is known to the VPC as a “loophole.” To the writers of the Constitution, the freedom to buy a gun without the government being involved was known as “freedom.”

The Violence Policy Center also uses a 60 Minutes broadcast in May, 2005 to beat the alarm drum that we need to immediately ban .50 caliber rifles.

60 Minutes featured an interview with Florin Krasniqi who is identified as an Albanian gun runner. 60 Minutes sure thinks we are stupid, because Mr. Krasniqi is easily shown to be a liar.

60 Minutes’ Krasniqi says that one can buy the US Military’s service rifle, the M-16 in any gun show or a gun store. The impression is given that one just walks in and buys one as if it were any other gun. Truth is, most stores and gun shows don’t even bother to sell them because of the huge restrictions on their sale. Indeed, in many states, it is completely illegal to sell them at all. So much for getting the rifle from any store.

Krasniqi then goes on to say that his favorite at the gun stores and gun shows was the “Phillip .50-caliber rifle.” In his dreams, perhaps, but that is the only place he found the gun. Not only had I never heard of a Phillip .50-caliber rifle, but neither had the folks at the .50 Caliber Shooters Institute. The Institute’s John Burtt said that there is no known manufacturer. Maybe Krasniqi is planning to build the gun and distribute it to gun shows and gun stores?

So, what should be done? Probably the best advice would be to take a deep breath. Then, if you have somewhere between $1500 and $10,000 you might go buy a .50 caliber rifle. But they should not be banned as long as we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.